Real-Life Inception: Army Looks to ‘Counteract Nightmares’ With Digital Dreams


A soldier tries to sleep. But he is not safe in his dreams. Jolted awake by a nightmare, the combat veteran fumbles in the dark for his 3-D glasses.

He puts them on. Around him are the faces of people whom he trusts. They fight the darkness with him. The soldier’s re-lived this scene in his head and the laboratory over and over again, until it has become reassuringly familiar. The soldier knows that his pixelated friends will take him away from these troubled dreams. When the scene is over, he takes off his goggles and looks around him. The soldier is home.

The U.S. Army wants this dream sequence to become reality. In an Army-backed experiment called “Power Dreaming,” Naval Hospital Bremerton in Washington State will help traumatized troops battle their nightmares — with soothing, digitally-made dreams crafted in virtual worlds. No, this is not the script for the sequel to Inception.

The research project is in its early planning and is not expected to launch until next year, a hospital spokesperson told Danger Room. But it is picking up momentum. Last week, the Army awarded almost half a million dollars to a consulting company for help developing the experiment.

Fifty-two percent of combat veterans with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) reported having nightmares fairly often, according to the National Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Study. “During our conscious hours, most can hide what they have become,” according to a presentation delivered to the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians, a nonprofit group. “But in sleep, this vigilance slacks and the dream world can become a frightening and uncontrolled experience with waking consequences.”

So the researchers will ask troops to take control of the “creation of the customized healing imagery (therapeutic dreams) to counter the impact of nightmares,” according to a military contracting document.

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DU Technologies nouvelles et nouvelles pathologies


 Une nouvelle culture est en train de se mettre en place. Ce n’est plus seulement celle des livres, mais celle des écrans, avant de donner probablement naissance à une culture nouvelle associant les bénéfices des deux, une culture « par les écrans ». Cette culture bouleverse tous les domaines : le travail du lien à soi-même et aux autres, le rapport à sa propre image et à l’ensemble des représentations qui nous entourent, la relation au temps, à l’espace, aux divers apprentissages et aux formes de la connaissance. Ces bouleversements suscitent de nouvelles formes de réseaux sociaux et d’organisation familiale, mais surtout des fonctionnements psychiques différents marqués par la prévalence de mécanismes de défense nouveaux et de pathologies émergentes, notamment de l’ordre de la dépendance. Le but de ce Diplôme Universitaire est d’inviter à comprendre comment le fonctionnement psychique évolue aujourd’hui en fonction des technologies numériques, de donner les instruments pour penser ces changements, et d’envisager comment les apprivoiser pour les mettre au service du développement émotionnel, cognitif et social.